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Subject: bean town 76 '
Solid show with some very exceptional moments.the band sounds tight but there is a looseness in their playing that sounds gr8.very nice song selections and some incredible jams.
It's cool that the band left the boards up for this show following the release of that last RT...this one has all the patches but sounds just fine. This is just a straight-up dance show at its core, driven so often by this ice-cool disco slap rhythm, a very conspicuous Phil leading the charge. Some highlights:
* Cassidy's little jam at the end is *such* a tease - it's cool seeing the band trying out potential jams but knowing when to pull back at the right time.
* The minor-key Spanish-like drop in Crazy Fingers is one of the most gorgeous passages the band ever explored - and to END in that space takes some serious balls. Man, oh man!
* Listen to Big River rev up like a radio dial; the band keeps pushing this thing more and more until it is *just so*, a little faster than usual - listen to them push HARD to keep it there!
* 2nd set is incredible. That opening suite is 40 minutes of absolutely essential *danceable* Dead; If you, ever find yourself falling into a lazy routine with this band, your bag of chips and R. Crumb retrospective out a bit too often, just play this suite as therapy - stand up and get a groove on! And while it is fun to hear the crowd oohing and ahhing over the return of St. Stephen, the jam they play on this thing ALWAYS trumps the surrounding circumstances of the song's revival. It is remarkable by any standard of this song, especially when they wrap the final verse back around it!
* Even more of that crazy boogaloo funk-cool: Samson (I mean, faaaaack....), Dancin', Supplication, A&A. Just get up, yo!
This is a prime example of the Dead in '76; certainly one of the best shows of the year as far as I'm concerned.
Subject: St. Stephen!
Listen to that audience reaction about 500 milliseconds into St. Stephen! Especially after the intermission, you gotta love this stuff.
chris phillips -
Subject: differences in opinion
I think Crazy Fingers had one of the best leads that could be quite extended and as gorgeous as any. I'm sorry it wasn't played throughout 1981 actually, because while Red Rocks(82)was sweet (and jammed out beautifully) it was getting late in the game.
This version is excellent and as nice as all the 76 ones. You have St. Stephen on top of that, so...no one's complaining then come in and shut the door.
Subject: Holly Eyes!!
One of my fave tunes and this one is one of the all time best! And so is this show, no question!!!
Go Faster, Get Rounder -
Subject: This one is slammin
Agree with Pangolin22 about 76 being an underrated year. I used to have a bunch of tapes from 76 that I listened to a fair amount, including some from this run. Then the digital stuff started happening and I really didn't go for the 76 shows at all for a long time. Now I am remembering how much I liked those 76 tapes and really digging the stellar fidelity of some of the 76 shows, like this one.
The fidelity on this is incredible. A couple of Aud. patches, and it was 76, but it is still stellar. Phil, Bob and Jerry are mixed just right--you can pretty much always hear just exactly what each of them is doing. Thank you yet again Charlie Miller--you do incredible work--listened to several versions of this show and yours just sparkles.
Also agree that Crazy Fingers usually didn't live up to its potential. Usually. On this night it sure has hell did. Freaking sublime.
Subject: subtlety is key
I agree with previous, the boys never did exploit Crazy Fingers properly over the years, I think it's one of those pieces that is mood/moment based...kind of have to sneak up on it sideways, if you attack it frontally it slips away, speaking as an artist...Personally I've always thought of Crazy Fingers as the ugly deformed brother of Dark Star. Dark Star is written better, and was certainly worked and exploited beyond it's merits. CzyFgs never was worked that way by the band, yet for some reason Jerry kept dragging it out and torturing us with it..(wait, did I say that? that's negative, sorry)
I think the best of set 1 is the beautiful Looks Like Rain and perfectly delivered Ship of Fools. Agreed that this version of Crazy is top shelf, if you like the song, which I don't.
Set 2 is completely inspired. St.Stephen opens hot, but the best part is the jam....Eyes into Let It Grow is seemingly a natural but did they ever do it before or after?...I'd have to check...Agree that this Eyes is all-time memorable, so is Let It Grow. Smoking set 2, really, great song selection, ebb and flow, Jerry's playing is so relaxed and conversational during this period. Finally, Franklin encore! Mercy me! Good stuff. Too much down time in set one drops it down from four stars.
Subject: An underated run from THE underated year
Poor 76, stuck between the twin peaks of 74 and 77 it gets no respect. The more you dig into these 76 shows the more you realize what you've been missing. I heard this run (9/10/11/12) years ago and thought I would pop back in and can't believe what I overlooked.
This show in particular is titanic. After a slowish start, the band begins to fire on all cylinders. The worst performances here are merely great while the high points, which are too numerous to mention, are some of the best of their kind. Just to try and pigeonhole a couple, I'll say that I believe that this Crazy Fingers could possibly be the best one they ever performed. The Saint Stephen>Eyes>Let It Grow is absolutely sublime and I wouldn't be shy about listing it in my all-time favourite Dead performances. Just listen to the crowd explode at the beginning of St. Stephen. The drummers completely rule of this version of Let it Grow... Bill just attacks the intro. Phil is out from and in charge through the whole show as well. And that gorgeous Charlie Miller sound...
Just listen to me, gushing like a schoolgirl. Just listen to this show and then the rest of
Mr. Completely -
Subject: one of the prototypical Crazy Fingers
If you are looking for great versions of this song it's hard to point to one much better than this, but here are some others that are worth your time.
6-3 is beautiful but a little lethargic compared to this version.
6-14 is the other obvious 'best ever' contender when you're talking about versions with really clean sources. This one's a brilliant mix and very clean performance with great feeling & a nice transitional outro jam. A must-hear for fans of the song.
7-13 features another beautiful outro jam, longer than this one or 6-14, but the source is degraded (quite listenable though). Not the Bertha source, the other one is better IMO. The song performance (before the jam) is perhaps the most on-point and inspired of all!
9-30 has another sick outro jam but mumbled lyrics. Very cool but the flubs put it a step below.
For Brent era versions, the best I know of by far is 7-8-87 Roanoke, one of only two versions to come out of Space and a really superior rendition overall with a clean vocal delivery and wonderful feel. Unfortunately there's no A quality source for that under-the-radar show.
So if you like the Fingers, you've come to the right show, and those are my recommendations if you need more...YMMV and all that, so listen and decide for yourself! Enjoy!
Subject: Great SHow and Tour
Someone below mentioned June '76, and I want to second it. Now unliek some others who may review this I was not seeign shows then, a bit befor emy time. My first show was not until '83. I saw a little over 90 shows, most from '83-'86. I always am big on '72-'74 like anyone, but this erea often gets overlooked. Some ragged playing for sure, who owuldn;t sound that way after 20 months off essentially, bringing The Vulcan back in to boot. But there are all kinds of great shows an dmoments, and they really shine. This being one of the strongest of the period. The Beacon shows were great, second night at Passic are other examples.
Oh, and can someone tll me what "sick quality" means? Is that good or bad? I never once heard that phrase on tour.
Subject: Oh wow man...
There is some sick shit goin on here... In Eyes, Phil plays the changes and bombs from throughout the song before the lyircs even start. Just a month ago I thought I heard the my favorite Eyes. Well... let me add one more to my list.
an epic epic show here, june 1976, what i would give to go back to that month
Subject: Everybody's Dancin'.....
This is one of my favorite Dancin' in the Streets. Phil RIPS IT UP in a funky way...all through this song! While the Jerry solos aren't as impressive as the ones to come, this is really good for Phil and the way the band jams together, trading off solos between Jerry, Keith, and Bobby, with Phil bouncing around beneath them! It is GREAT!
super sick sound all the way through
Subject: Just plain Epic........
I've recently been revisiting my '76's, a year often ignored by yours truly, but hearing this and and a few others again is making me seriously re-think that policy.
After a somewhat shaky start, by the middle of Scarlet the band is cooking, and they rarely let up until the final notes of Franklin's Tower have evaporated.
One of the main highlights for me is the stunning version of Crazy Fingers, although I wish Jerry's vocals were a little louder. But, I know how the song goes, and his serene playing more than makes up for the quiet vocals. I would have loved to hear where the band would have taken this song in '77, as the melody really lends itself to jamming, as this one proves. It could have become like another Sugaree. But it's hard to imagine a better version than this. The rest of the first set is above-average for '76, overall, but nothing to get all hysterical about.
The second set, however, is one of the best of '76, imo, and next to 9/27's face-melter, this one may be my favorite. Overall, it's not my favorite setlist, but setlists can be very decieving, as we all know.
When the first notes of St. Stephen play, their first in almost five years, the crowd goes absolutely INSANE! Sends chills up my spine. I'm actually glad the first minute is from an AUD, because it really sucks you in to the crowd, allowing you to feel what it must have been like to have been there that day to hear it. Then, much like 5/8/77's Minglewood, the sbd kicks in at the perfect time.
Eyes of the World may be the best mid-late 70's version I've ever heard, and I've heard a lot. I like how they perform it with that sudden shift while jamming, where it gets a little freakier, which they rarely did from '76 on. It is, however, in the opening jam instead of the closing jam, but it still rocks the jam session.
The other highlight is Wharf Rat, performed to perfection here. The slow breakdown in the middle actually gave me the chills, which is hard to do considering the countless different versions of the song I've heard. Then I nearly lost it when they broke into the "fly away" section. As Bob would say, "just exactly perfect."
The fact that this is my longest review proves what a great show this is, especially if you're a '68-'77 snob like me. This just might be the start of my first ever "'76 phase!"
As always, anything with Charlie Miller's name on it is gonna be excellent, sound-wise and performance-wise.